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Our Experience at the 2012 Kuwait Bloggers Gathering

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Yeah I know, we wrote two blog posts on this event before, the first one plainly enough, was titled Kuwait Bloggers Gathering 2012, and the second one was called 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference, where we mentioned how popular blogging is becoming in Kuwait nowadays and last night’s event was another testimonial of this fact.

As shown in the above image, the first speaker, one of the most successful bloggers in Kuwait, Hamad AlAli of 7amad Qalam, has managed to pile up a quarter million page views just in the last quarter! The second speaker, Ayman AlRuwayeh of Tasweeq, delivered an enlightening presentation on the do’s and dont’s of e-marketing, going into e-commerce, social media marketing, and more. 

The above image is a screen shot of one of the slides in his presentation, and yes, it’s in Arabic! No worries though, the headline reads “What is E-Marketing?" and the bullets read as follows:

  • Website marketing
  • Text Messaging
  • Social Media Networking
  • Social Media Blogging
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
Here’s a video of the introduction to the seminar, and if you look closely enough at the presentation screen, you’ll notice written “Tweet Us @bloggersgather #bgseminar”, and this relates to one of the valuable takeaways from the seminar, this whole idea of trendsetting using Twitter hashtags, a favorite tool of conferences and event organizers.

As you probably already know, Twitter allows you to set trends by using hashtags along with keywords to help spread information easier and simultaneously boost visibility and credibility. But not every hashtag will become a trend, people need to tweet it quite often. One of the ways to find out what is trending is to utilize tools such as What the Trend, which details a real-time display of the top Twitter hashtags and why each one is trending.

Anyway, it’s good to see how important social media is becoming in the Kuwaiti business culture, and we’re looking forward for the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference happening right here in Kuwait as well, on May 9th, 2012. And we’ve also got the Internet Show ME, the Middle East’s leading Internet business exhibition & conference taking place in Dubai, starting tomorrow (April 17th 2012). They’re inviting speakers from PayPal and ESPN, how exciting! Check out the image below:

Anyway, I will leave you with a little treat for reading up until this point, because I know that this blog post is a little longer than usual. I know the image will render useless, but at least it will be eye candy for you. I’m not doing it to torture you or to rub it in your face, but to give you a break from our topic on middle east social media seminars, exhibitions and conferences and get you to focus on other more important matters: Food, one of the most influential and widely used topics in the Kuwait blogging culture!

Kuwait to Host the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

We’re happy to see that the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference & Exhibition will be held right here in Kuwait, but at the same time we ain’t surprised! Here’s why: According to the Dubai School of Government’s Arab Social Media Report, Kuwait has one of the highest penetration rates in Facebook, Twitter, and Blog usage.

Coincidentally, we’ve also got the Kuwait Bloggers Gathering 2012 happening here on April 15th, 2012. This is also another clear sign that social media is a big part of the Kuwaiti culture, and is picking up a lot of speed quite rapidly.

The Arabian Social Media Conference & Exhibition is an two-day event that will take place May 9-10, 2012 at the Raddison Blu Hotel in Kuwait. The price to attend is quite hefty, but they’re offering 50% discounts for people who register online.

Here is a description of the event in their own words: “Many government agencies and businesses are implementing Web 2.0 and Social Media strategies. However, simply having a Facebook page,Twitter account or YouTube channel is not enough; organizations need to be strategic in developing and integrating communications using social media.”

The event is said to have workshops and speaking engagement on key issues that revolve around the following topics:

  • Budgeting social media
  • Video marketing
  • Social media tools
  • Social media education & training
  • Social media problems/obstacles
  • How to communicate with social media
  • Social media on digital devices
  • Advertising
  • Geographical strategies
  • Success stories from social media
  • Case studies for successful social media commuting and presenting.
  • Social media analysis
  • Saleability of social media
  • How to measure and add value to social media
  • Security features and increasing user participation
  • Social media marketing strategies

As for who should attend, the following types of companies, organizations, and professionals were listed:

  • CEO’s & COO’s
  • Marketing Executives & Managers
  • Brand strategists
  • Business intelligence
  • Customer Service agents
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Social media managers
  • PR managers
  • Advertisement experts
  • Communication Executives
  • Bloggers
  • E-business managers
  • Digital marketing
  • Product specialists

They say the ROI of social media is that your business will exist in 5 years, and many thought that it’s still too early for businesses in Kuwait to see the benefits of social media. But if you look at the amount of blogs you’ve got in Kuwait nowadays and how they’re making a whole bunch of money from selling advertising space, you would think otherwise.

And if you consider that Kuwait has the 4th highest amount of active Twitter users in the Arab region, standing at 117,304 (Arab Social Media Report 2012; Dubai School of Government), then it makes it even more clear that you either get on the social media ship, or you’ll sink. But as the conference pointed out, social media is not just about creating a Facebook and Twitter page, but it’s about maintaining them to build relationships with key influencers, providing valuable (but branded) content and entertainment, and monitoring and measuring the results.

Kuwait Bloggers Gathering 2012

We were honored to have been invited to the Bloggers Gathering Seminar which is set to take place on April 15, 2012 (5-8pm), at the Gulf Unviersity of Science and Technology (in Hall W6-200) in Kuwait. The seminar is said to cover topics such as legal issues in social media, e-businesses experience, and of course, blogging.

Surprisingly, Kuwait is ahead of all other countries in the GCC region when it comes to blogging, seeing that UAE has the highest Internet penetration rate in the Arab region. Kuwait is also ahead of UAE when it comes to the number of active Twitter users. (Arab Social Media Report 2012)

We’re proud to see that Kuwait is one of the most active countries in the GCC when it comes to social media usage.

The active blogs in Kuwait are many, and for this reason bloggers such as Danderma releases a list of the 100 Best Kuwaiti Blogs every month or so. These blogs are selling ad space like crazy and are making quite a killing due to the high monthly traffic they receive. For example, Q8 Ping (i.e. Kuwait Ping) is positioned as the best blog in Kuwait with an estimated monthly traffic of 36,000 visitors!

We’ll be sure to go to network and quite admittedly, to create mutually-beneficial relationships with other bloggers (there we said it!) Anyway, if you’re interested in also attending, registration is open for everyone and for more details on the gathering, please feel free to visit Bloggers Gathering’s Website. Hope to see you there!

Creative Lessons from Today’s Northern Lights Show

After yesterday’s biggest solar storm, which has been labelled as the biggest one in the last 6 years, the Northern Lights (called the Aurora Borealis) have lit up the skies above Scotland and northern England offering us a wave of sensational rays to admire and draw lessons from. 

I mean, just ask yourself, do you ever get bored looking at different Northern Lights shows? As for me, it never ceases to astonish and inspire me, especially on the creative side. Each show offers a mix of vibrant and bewitching colors, rays, strings and waves all interconnected to form one beautiful view.

We could all learn a few lessons from such natural phenomenons, and the first one is that they never offer the same show twice! Some are mild, some are wild, some are dazing, some are bewitching, and some are just plain’ out of this world (literally, they do after all form in space!)

 

So be creative, be wild, be outrageous, be inspiring to the point that you astonish people with wonder written all over their faces, light in their eyes, and inspiration engraved on their hearts.

Finally! Some Ways to Measure Social Media Impact on Business

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

One of the terms that gets thrown around way too loosely and vaguely, is the concept of ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI), what is it exactly?

Simply, it is the yields that you receive in return for some sort of resource that you’re sacrificing, such as people (we’re not talking about the Chichen Itza style of human sacrificing), money, time, or anything that keeps you from sleeping at night. Here’s the equation to compute ROI:

But here’s the tricky question, how do you define gain from investment? What exactly is the gain? If you hire a marketing coordinator, then you know the cost of the investment, it’s his or her salary and related expenses. But how will you determine whether you’re generating a healthy ROI with this hire? Will the gain be attributed to leads, sales, profits, or some other sort of metric. You see how confusing it can get!

To make it even more confusing, let’s talk about social media? Does social media actually generate a ROI? That is the least of many questions circulating this topic. Some experts argue that the because of the importance of social media in today’s information, collaboration, and sharing age, the ROI of social media is that your business will exist in 5 years!

Some argue that there is a ROI, but it’s too early in the game to define exactly what gain you receive from your social media investment. Even if you were able to pinpoint exactly what sort of gain you receive out of the whole crazy world called social media. The truth is that marketers have yet to come out with a solid standard measurement of social media success, but they’re getting closer to doing so.

For instance, Wildfire conducted a ROI survey of over 700 marketers from all around the World to reveal what kind of impact social media is having on their businesses, and what are some of the top measurements they value the most. The results were compiled into an easy-to-digest infographic, found below. I know it;s too small to view, so just click on it so you can be taken to the larger version, enjoy!

Raad Afyouni Helping Promote Youth Creativity in Kuwait

Our CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Houssam Afyouni, was honored on Jan.18th, 2012, to take a role as one of the creative judges at the 5th Annual Art Olympiad event-an initiative by Landmark Group Kuwait to promote social responsibility and youth creativity development. 

The contest involved more than 10 different schools and 150 students, where each student got the chance to improvise their flair and show off their innovative and creative ability through art submissions. Here are some of the young creative minds that participated in the contest.

It’s very important that we as creative agencies, set the stage for the next generation to carry on the creativity torch for the tough times to come in the advertising agency, especially in light of the innovative information age we now live in. This is the least we can do, as part of our corporate social responsibility towards the youth Kuwait, because if we don’t inspire them, then who will?

The Future of Advertising: Dynamic Storytelling (6 Tips)

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

 

And I don’t mean fairy tale stories like Cinderella and Prince Charming. I am talking about content in the form of storytelling! According to Chrisitian Haas, the executive creative director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, advertising in 2012 will be more than ever about using technology to create and share content.

But not any kind of content! And how you write the content also makes an impact as well. The content needs to be relevant to your industry and target audience, practical enough to be applied within the same day of reading it, rich enough to be recognized as being insightful, and last but not least, it needs to be in the form of exciting and vibrant stories to put people on the edge of their seat while reading it, and to inspire them so much that they will click that retweet, or +1, or like button without hesitation!

When I say content, I mean articles, posts, infographics (newest method of data visualization), and even videos and images-don’t forget that a picture is worth a thousand words! Each piece of content needs to tell an intriguing story that relates to your target audience and that provides some sort of value. However, the most popular form of content that will help your business generate leads and sales, is by far articles and blog posts. Can you give us an example you may say.

As far as articles go, once again, I don’t like to brag but this very blog is an example. We are an advertising agency and our audience are advertisers, so we decided to start a blog (using the free-based blog platform Tumblr) so we can every now and then provide useful content related to the advertising and digital media industry, in the hope of attaining leads out of it (hey, at least we’re honest about it!)

I mean, come on! Why else would we be putting so much time and effort in running a blog and other social media channels? Time is money people! And let me break it to you, social media is about making money too! Hubspot came out with a study revealing how social media is for generating leads and sales, with blogs having been cited as the biggest sale generator, stating that 46% of the participants in the study claimed to have acquired a customer from their company blog. Sweet! 

Hey, nobody is holding you guilty for writing content for the sake of generating leads, the intention is irrelevant (plus it’s hidden, only God can judge you). You don’t need to write content with the pure intention of helping people, it needs to make business sense for you. It’s the kind of content you write and how you write it, that matters. 

Your content therefore must:

1) Be relevant to our industry and target audience

If you’re an advertising agency then write about advertising (and anything related such as digital media, marketing, PR, etc.)

2) Provide valuable content and practical tips that can be applied today 

Don’t write for the sake of writing or to say that you’re writing. Do actually provide valuable information that will help your target audience. And that valuable content must have practical tips that can be applied, not just filler words and theoretical junk. Provide tips, hints, strategies, tactics, whatever to get the engine up and running.

3) Be in the form of an intriguing story 

You need to write the content as if you’re writing an intriguing story: An intro that will incite the visitors to read the whole article, suspense throughout to keep them interested, a climax to have them glued to the screen, and images to feed their inner crave for visuals. 

4) Include images that strike curiosity

Images are huge in writing articles or blog posts, especially the first one that your readers see. It should be an image that strikes curiosity. For example, have a look at the Cinderella image on the top for instance. I bet you many people will scroll down just to see what the correlation between advertising, lead-generation, and Cinderella is. Even if they have no interest in the topic whatsoever!

5) Introduce some sort of new, or creative idea

Don’t just write about how businesses need to adopt social media and provide proofs for how important social it is for example. There are millions of articles that say just that. Provide a catchy headline and present creative ideas that will make your story stand out from others. Talk about a controversial topic such as how Google Plus is threatening the future of Twitter for example. The idea is to present a new idea or thought that either nobody or a few people have presented before.

6) Tell the story as if you’re telling it to your friends and family

We communicate best to those who we love the most, and who do we adore more than our family and friends? When we speak to them, we speak sincerely and with the use of humor, compassion, and we’re not afraid to voice our opinion nor hide our true personality.

We also use language that they understand and relate to very well. This is how we’re able to retain their attention and get along with them well. Why not treat your readers and potential customers like the people you adore most and show them your authentic self? Besides it will make your story even more compelling and exciting when you tell it from the heart with the language that you use with your loved ones.

Hilarious TV TV Commercial [VIDEO]

And no! That 2nd “TV” word is not an a repeated word! This is a TV commercial about TV’s, and it shows the peak of creativity with a hilarious twist at the end! I bet you $100 you will not be able to guess what the guy on the security camera is doing. Go ahead and have a try at it.

The advertising agency, Y&R Amsterdam, realized that 30 seconds wasn’t long enough to set up the joke so they extended it to a minute long. Genius move! What’s even more genius is the fact that they did not try to use pushy selling strategies with corny headlines and slogans! A lesson for all of us my advertising agency friends.